A new law signed by County Executive John R. Leopold on Friday may help prevent future tragedies, like the one that occurred in 2006 after a drowning incident at a Crofton pool involving 5-year-old Connor Freed.
In Connor's case, the lifeguard was reportedly not properly trained and able to use an automated external defibrillator—a portable device that sends an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm. Connor died on the way to the hospital.
The legislation known as “Connor’s Law” requires that defibrillators be on site at all public and semi-public pools in the county. As an emergency ordinance, the law takes effect immediately.
Defibrillators increase drowning survival rate to 85 percent, according to a press release from the county, and the Red Cross now requires training on how to use the devices.
“Statistics prove that the use of defibrillators increases your chance of survival,” said Debbie Neagle-Freed, Connor’s mother and founder of the Connor Cares Foundation in a prepared statement. “My child would be alive today if this law was in effect.”
Here are some facts released from the county's public information office:
- Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children 5 years old and younger.
- Anne Arundel County law already required face masks, latex gloves, a pathogen control kid, a light, a rescue pole, a rescue tube and other life-saving equipment.
- The Anne Arundel County Department of Health regulates 275 pools.